Read, Write, Run, Roam

Slices of Serbia: a pizza pity party


When I was researching Belgrade in preparation for our move here, guidebooks and blogs all seemed to agree on one thing: no one comes to Serbia for the pizza. I thought this was fine. I mean, we weren’t coming to Serbia for Mexican food, either. Who cares if the pizza is bad? As I read more on the subject I discovered why Serbian pizza horrifies the casual traveler. It’s not because the crust is too thick or thin. It’s not because the ingredients aren’t fresh. It’s because if you’re not careful, your pizza slice could be covered in ketchup. Specifically, pizza ketchup.

image source: podravka.com

Oh yes, this is real. Pizza menus will describe their pizzas as having cheese, tomato, pepperoni…and ketchup. But RHOB, this isn’t really ketchup, right? It’s something else. Nope, this is ketchup. Actually, it’s a little sweeter than American ketchup, so in some ways it’s worse than Heinz 57 or something similar.

But not to despair, non-Serbian pizza lovers! Many places offer pizza without the ketchup. And there are several Italian restaurants in Belgrade that serve Naples-style pizza sans red stuff. There’s even a Pizza Hut on Makedonska. I’ve never been there though so I can’t comment on their ketchup policy.

Truthfully, it’s not the ketchup that tourists should be concerned about: it’s the marinara sauce. This is the most confusing part of ordering pizza here. Sometimes, the marinara sauce is good. Really good. I’ve drizzled it on white pizza or dipped my pizza crust in it. Other times, it’s awful: a processed, sweet goop with chunks of canned tomato in it. STAY AWAY. When you get the side dish of sauce, it’s hard to tell whether you’ve got the good stuff or not–so you’ve got to ask yourself…do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

  

Image source here.

Overall, I think Serbian pizza isn’t great, but I have a few places that satisfy the craving in Belgrade. The best pizza I’ve had here was in Novi Sad at Kuca Mala, pictured above. Excellent cheese-to-toppings ratio, a nice crust (not too doughy) and decent marinara sauce. Muz’s pizza was just ok. He made the odd choice of getting the Mexican pizza, which featured corn and…carrots. People may not come to Serbia for the Mexican food or the pizza, but they certainly won’t stay for a Mexican pizza.

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7 responses

  1. Kuma

    Silly Muz. Everyone knows you can only get Mexican pizza at Taco Bell…

    July 13, 2011 at 1:17 pm

  2. Taco bell pizza is grosser than Pizza Hut pizza.

    July 13, 2011 at 4:09 pm

  3. Anonymous

    Try having a muz who will only eat pizza without cheese! He made Chinese in Belgrade seem appealing. The children had Pizza Hut pizza every Wednesday at school until even they said, Enough. It was dreadful!

    July 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

  4. VP

    Homemade pizza is by far the best! A lot of pastry and, yes, a lot of (homemade!!) ketchup! Add some cheese (kačkavalj), mushrooms and dried meat (pršuta anyone?) and you’re in for a treat. You can even eat it cold!

    July 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

  5. I want to make homemade pizza but I am intimidated by the crust!

    July 19, 2011 at 5:54 am

  6. When we were in Novi Sad, our relative went out to get us pizza for dinner. He returned with four individual pizzas and said (in Serbian), “Here’s your pizza and here’s your ketchup.” I thought I’d heard wrong but noop…. ketchup seems to be the norm AND in Bulgaria as well. As for Kuca Mala, that little place is great! They make absolutely the best cappuccino anywhere and that includes in Vancouver at the Caffe Roma where my husband works. Kuca Mala…. I long to come back again – maybe next year.

    July 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm

  7. I haven’t been to Bulgaria yet, so it’s good to know they also like pizza with ketchup. Fair warning and all that… Novi Sad is a special place with some really great restaurants. I like Fish and Zelenis, too. Hope you get to return soon!

    July 25, 2011 at 7:19 am

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